An immense and unexpected field of action: Webcams, surveillance and everyday life

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The essay uses a quotation from Walter Benjamin to ask what 'immense and unexpected field of action' is revealed through the numerous web-cameras connected to the internet. The essay considers the subject of the webcam gaze to be that of everyday life in a society of surveillance and control. Drawing on Mark Andrejevic's concept of digital enclosures and Michael H. Goldhaber's argument that the Internet is an attention economy, the essay considers webcams and other means of online expression in the context of Gilles Daleuze's notion of a society of control. In the end, the essay considers the webcam to reveal aspects of everyday life through senses of thisness, durée, awareness, embodiment and care, as everyday life is caught up in and constituted by intertwined networks of care and control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-442
Number of pages19
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004



  • Control
  • Everyday life
  • Surveillance
  • Webcams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Anthropology

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